Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777- Black Gemstone


Black Gemstone by Stéphane Humbert Lucas walks a fine line between scary to sexy. It's a heavy and opaque fragrance, all wood, incense, and birch tar. The "Black" in its name is fully justified, especially during the part of the perfume development that feels like you're walking right through a smoky room. In that dark chaos you might fear stumbling into things and sharp objects, which seem to swirl all around you in a chaotic pattern. Once you find your stride and the smoke becomes less tarry and rubbery and you start to see flickers of light shining through and guiding your way.

I confess that sometimes I over-apply, if I'm distracted or have simply forgotten how potent Black Gemstone really is. It takes longer to settle on my skin into the sweet incense, myrrh, and tonka bean, making the foreboding atmosphere of burning black tires in a back alley that much more intense. Is this part of the vision Stéphane Humbert Lucas had for this perfume? It reminds me of the story behind the 1969 Guy Bourdin image I used above. The visual, created by Serge Lutens during his tenure as a makeup artist, was done by completely covering the models in glue from head to toe before applying the black gems. What Bourdin and Lutens didn't realize was that they were in fact suffocating the poor girls, who passed out from lack of oxygen. While various assistants rushed to remove the layers of glue and shiny beads, Bourdin, who's gained a reputation of a model abuser, is reported to have said "Oh, it would be beautiful - to have them dead in bed!". Four photos from the two-day shoot were used for the Christmas issue of Vogue Paris. The one with the unconscious models made the cover.

I've known I was going to use this photo for my Black Gemstone review for a very long time. I love how it connects Serge Lutens to the narrative. His own Serge Noire is a fierce smoky incense that can also be a bit suffocating, especially as it's extremely redolent of spices that seem to have been scorched. While there's no mention of any spice in the note list of the Stéphane Humbert Lucas perfume, I'm pretty sure that I smell a good dose of saffron. It makes me anticipate an appearance of saffron's close companion, rose, but it never comes. Instead, the softer side of Black Gemstone is characterized by sweet fresh incense and tonka bean. This is where the perfume really shines.

Something happens on skin at a certain point. Each one of the major notes: myrrh, wood, incense, and tonka begins to sparkle. They are separated from each other and identifiable just before amalgamating into a sensual scent, delectable and inviting. It lasts forever and a day, and as you can imagine will fumigate the environment if one is not careful. Sometimes, though, it's fun to live dangerously.

Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777- Black Gemstone ($290, 50ml eau de parfum) is available from OsswaldNYC and Luckyscent.

Photograph by Guy Bourdin for Vogue Paris, 1969.

8 comments:

  1. What a terrible story! But, so believable. It's just one of the many stories out there that makes one think that even though Guy Bourdin was talented, he was probably a psychopath.

    After unexpectedly falling in love with Khôl de Bahreïn, I have no idea why I clicked through and read this review. Now I'm tempted by something else!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This entire line has been a series of unexpected loves. I wanted to be cynical and treat it like Roja, but it's just too good.

      Delete
  2. Those poor models! I guess the people responsible never saw the James Bond film Goldfinger when the lady totally covered in gold dies of skin suffocation in the movie. I tend to be anosmic to my own perfumes so I have to be careful with ones like this so I don't blast everyone around me. Thank you for such well written reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was also thinking about Goldfinger when I read the story. They were out of their mind.

      Delete
  3. This fragrance appears to be a completely different perfume on my skin : it's smooth, and rather calming with the strong incense note. Thankfully, on my skin I don't get the burnt tires, which I hate passionately - but I love Black Gemstone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shapeshifting is something I've noticed a lot with 777. Soleil de Jeddah is a completely different perfume on my husband. Thankfully, we both love it.

      Delete
  4. I love this perfume. Very comforting. But, Guy Bourdin? What an absolutely hideous human being. And the fact that the photo of the unconscious models made the cover...I don't even have words.
    Anna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was a vile man, for sure. And I'm a little mad at Uncle Serge for cooperating with him.

      Delete

I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

See Also

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Like